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A Burglar’s Checklist

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A couple months back, we create a post Investigating Unexpected Burglary Methods. In that post, we examined how to prepare even for the unexpected ways burglars commit a crime. Homeowners are often surprised to learn of — sometimes firsthand — the creative ways that criminals work. We always hope to educate our customers about these methods in order to help prepare them for the worst-case scenario. Additionally, we also wish to explain the types of things that tempt burglars to commit a crime in the first place. This can help customers create a proactive approach to home security. In this post, we share the types of criteria that fit a burglar’s checklist while choosing a target.

We will begin with a look at one of a burglar’s favorite sights: a moving van. Whether being sold or bought, a home with a moving van often contains unwatched valuables. From there, we will look at other factors that indicate the presence of high-priced items in a home. In addition to evidence of valuables, evidence of an easy means of entrance and egress can also lead to a crime at your home. Securing your home properly can greatly reduce your chances of experiencing a burglary. From there, we will look at keeping your yard in a way that does not attract the wrong kind of attention. Finally, we will look at why a pileup of mail and other packages encourages burglars to target your home. Let’s dive in with a look at how a moving van attracts crime.

A Moving Van

Why is a moving van near the top of a burglar’s checklist? Because it often signals two of a burglar’s favorite things: the presence of valuables and an empty home. Of course, it is impossible to eliminate all signs when moving into or out of a home. However, we pointed out in our 7 Tips to Improve Home Security for New Homeowners that adding security measures before moving is completed can help! First and foremost, installing a home security system can create a siren and police response to a breach. We also recommend installing cameras in case a crime does occur on your property. Home alarm systems often scare burglars away shortly after attempting a crime.

A laptop next to a window.

Placing expensive electronics within reach of windows creates a tempting situation for burglars and negatively affects your security.

Additionally, cameras can help solve a crime if one does happen and even act as a deterrent if an individual considering a break-in attempt notices your surveillance measures. If you are moving into a home, do not wait until you settle in to install these security measures. Conversely, if you are moving out of a home, consider adding temporary measures that you can re-install at your new location. We can help you find both burglar alarm and surveillance equipment that you can take with you to your new home after completing the move. Now, let’s look at how to keep evidence of any valuables in your home private.

Remove Evidence of Valuables

The more obvious it is that a burglary would prove a useful endeavor, the more likely a criminal is to try it. Therefore, keeping evidence of these items in check can add a good measure of home security. For starters, always avoid leaving televisions and video gaming systems within reach of windows. Allowing burglars to reach into your home and grab these items without entering always creates a hard-to-avoid temptation. Additionally, walk by your home and notice what you can see from the street. If neighbors can stop outside and see your television shows or see a computer in a front window that looks in on a home office, you may want to change the layout of these rooms.

Finally, watch what you show in social media posts when you post pictures inside your house. For example, our post on Taking Steps to Prevent Post-Holiday Crime warned against posting pictures of flashy, expensive new gifts on social media. Having these pictures seen by the wrong eyes can increase your chances of someone breaking in and looking for these items. Keeping both physical and online evidence of your most prized possessions away from prying eyes can help avoid your home meeting this item on a burglar’s checklist. Now, let’s look at how evidence of an easy entrance and exit can entice a criminal.

Evidence of Easy Entry

A lawn care worker on a riding mower.

Maintaining the exterior of your home in your absence can give your home less “curb appeal” to burglars looking to target an empty house.

So far, we’ve pointed out that burglars look for empty homes and homes with valuables inside. Additionally, burglars want to come and go as quickly as possible. Allowing them to do so can put your home’s security in danger. Occasionally, homeowners make easily-avoidable mistakes that create these opportunities. For example, open windows act as an invitation for trouble. Unlocked doors also detract from your security. While burglars do need to approach the home and test the door to discover this opportunity, some criminals do just this. Posing as a canvassing salesman or politician allows thieves to knock on doors inconspicuously. If the homeowners do not answer, a quick check of the door will go unnoticed by passersby. If the door is unlocked, these thieves in disguise can enter once the coast is clear.

Additionally, evidence of cheap or ineffective security measures can also attract crime. For example, doors without deadbolts make for easy fodder for burglars. Poorly installed locks or old locks weakened by years of weather exposure can also signal an easy entry point into your home. Just as evidence of easy entry attracts burglars, evidence of strong door hardware can deter them. For some ideas on how to create this security, read up on How Professional Locksmith Services Help Homeowners. Now, let’s look at how the way you maintain your yard can affect your home’s security.

Unkempt Bushes, Shrubbery, and Lawns

Allowing your bushes and shrubbery to outgrow their usual height can attract burglars for a couple reasons. For one, your shrubbery can provide a hiding place for burglars that allows them to attempt entry into your home from safe cover. Additionally, an uncared-for perimeter often points to an empty home. If you do plan an extended absence from your home, consider hiring someone to take care of your lawn and gardens for you in your absence. Anything that points to an unoccupied home will create a “check” on a burglar’s checklist. Our next section deals with the a similar security faux pa that often points to an empty house. Now, let’s look at how a mail backup can create a home security nightmare.

An Alarm.com doorbell image of two girls at the door

Alarm.com Skybell doorbell cameras allow you to see and communicate your home’s visitors and review footage of any activity around your door.

Piles of Mail and Packages at Your Door

While your lawn can wait a week or two for caring before giving your home an “abandoned” look, you cannot say the same about your mail. Daily mail delivery can back up quickly and advertise an empty home to passersby. Furthermore, packages left on doorsteps can create a security issue in more than one way. For starters, thieves often steal these packages. Additionally, packages and backed-up mail often create evidence of an empty home. We recommend having the post office hold your mail during any extended absences. You can also ask neighbors to watch your door for non-USPS packages and flyers that get dropped off at your home as well.

Furthermore, consider adding security equipment to monitor your driveway and porch area. As we mentioned earlier, a home surveillance system can help add this security. We also offer a specific piece of security equipment for just this purpose. We provide and install Alarm.com Skybell doorbell cameras to help you watch the front of your home. These unique cameras allow you to talk to anyone who rings your doorbell from your smartphone. It also records activity and sends video alerts to your phone upon sensing motion, if desired. If you do see something you don’t like, you can voice your displeasure through your phone and have it heard on the other end of the camera! These unique options make Alarm.com doorbell cameras a popular security addition for any home.

Don’t Let Your Home’s Features Match a Burglar’s Checklist

We hope that this post will help you ensure that your home does not attract the wrong kind of attention. If you have any questions about the material in this post or home security in general, please contact us. We will happily answer any questions you may have. In addition, we can provide a free site survey for your home. While on site, we can address any security concerns you may have. Additionally, we can make suggestions of our own based on what we see during our visit. By making sure nothing about your home meets the criteria on a burglar’s checklist, we can help keep your home as safe and secure as possible.